Clan: Gumatj, Rrakpala group
Father was Mungurrawuy Yunupiŋu. Among his other children are former Northern Land Council chairman Galarrwuy, Yothu Yindi lead singer Mandawuy, and 2004 Telstra Aboriginal Art Award first prize winner Gulumbu. Other sisters to win major art awards are Nyapanyapa and Djerrkŋu. Djakaŋu was married to well known yiḏaki (didjeridu) maker Baḏikupa Gurruwiwi (dec). She had three children, two sons and a daughter. Sadly her daughter died leaving Djakangu’s granddaughter in her care.
Her mother from the Marrakulu clan was Bunay Wanambi, who was a cow herder for the mission at Yirrkala. As a child and with her father and family she went to the Yirrkala Mission School, taught by Mr Ron Croxford. Bunay’s other children in order were Nyapanyapa, Barrupu and Djakaŋu. As the other two became well known artists Djakaŋu only made occasional prints with the Yirrkala Print Space or sold small barks or canvases privately to the Nhulunbuy residents often going from shop to shop.
After her sister Barrupu died in 2012 Djakaŋu took on the role of companion and later carer for her eldest sister Nyapanyapa. This continued until Nyapanyapa’s death in 2021. Around 2011 she was a participant in the major print project The Seven Sisters with the abovementioned sisters as well as Ranydjupi, Dela and Dhopiya. It was only after her sister’s death in 2021 that Djakaŋu began to paint at Buku-Larrŋgay on a daily basis and quickly developed themes which evolved to become extremely interesting. The Gurmalili (Djulpan’s tears) and Ŋerrk (Cockatoo) motifs on larger barks were almost instantly appreciated by viewers.
All of her work shown at the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair in 2022 sold out and she was invited to exhibit with Alcaston Gallery who had previously represented her sisters Gulumbu, Barrupu and Djerrkŋu. Follow this her work was selected for Taranathi Indigenous Art Festival at the Art Gallery of South Australia in 2023 where her largest painting of that period was the featured work as you entered the exhibition.